I’m taking a break from Jane Austen for a day to celebrate, September 1st. Today, hundreds of Hogwarts students have boarded the Hogwarts Express and are on their way to school. Including Teddy Lupin for his sixth year and James Sirius Potter for his first.

What struck me when thinking about what it would have been like to get on a train to head to school for a long duration, was that to attend Hogwarts I would have to leave my family. To start anything new we have to leave behind the old and familiar.

Abraham and Sarah had to leave behind all their family and travel to a foreign land to become the father and mother of Israel—the father and mother of Faith (see Hebrews).

Ruth had to leave behind her family and nation to join Naomi in Israel, and eventually become the great, great, great, etc. grandmother of Christ.

Rahab had to leave behind her nation, her people, and her way of life to join the Israelites and eventually be part of the line of Christ.

Peter, Andrew, James, John, and all the disciples had to leave behind their professions and their homes to follow Christ. To become the Apostles of the Church.

And Paul had to leave behind everything he knew and stood for in the past to follow Christ. To become the writer of most of the New Testament and missionary to the Gentiles.

To embrace the future, we have to release the past. James Sirius Potter had to let go of his parents’ hands, say good-bye to his brother and sister, and get on the train to become a Hogwarts student—as so many others before him have done.

The question is, when we face our Hogwarts Express, will we get on or stay behind?